A team of researchers from the Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve School of Medicine have identified critical complex mechanisms involved in the metastasis of “triple negative” breast cancers (TNBC). These tumors are extremely difficult to treat, frequently return after remission, and are the most aggressive form of breast cancer in women. The discovery of this critical interaction of mechanisms could lead to the development of new treatments to kill metastatic tumors in TNBC. The researchers’ study appeared recently in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.
“In previous findings published over the past 10 years, our teams have described key mechanisms in these critical proteins,” says co-author Khalid Sossey-Alaoui, PhD, Department of Molecular Cardiology, Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic. “A key component in the deadly metastatic potential of TNBC tumors is that they spread through tissues outside the breast very quickly. The two proteins that we studied, WAVE3 and TGF-ß, when together, promote tumor aggressiveness.”
“We found important biological implications,” says co-author William Schiemann, PhD, an associate professor, Division of General Medical Sciences-Oncology, Case Western Reserve School of Medicine. “For the first time, we uncovered an interplay between the two proteins that can inhibit or suppress TNBC—a discovery that has the potential to inhibit proliferations of the tumor.”
The next step in the research process is to find a way to deliver inhibitors to the tumor. Using nanoparticles, the team hopes to deliver therapies directly to the site of the tumor and reverse the disease. The team’s goal is to move this basic research into clinical trials in the next three years.